Johnny Crawford (Robbie/Chiwa) may be more familiar to classic TV viewers as Mark McCain on The Rifleman. See more »
With this gun, I could have stopped murder tonight. But I've taken it off. That's my present to you. In all my life I've only seen a dozen real killers, but I've seen ten thousand people that would stand by and let it happen. Which is the greater evil?
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This Christmas episode features images very rarely seen on TV these days--a cross, people singing hymns and mentioning God rather than Santa Claus. The episode begins instead of the usual way, with Paladin directly addressing the camera about his Christmas gift to the audience as he hangs up his gun. When next we see him, he's arriving on the ranch of Nathaniel Beecher (Edward Binns), a cold hearted rancher who sent for Paladin to help find his son who had been stolen by the Apaches years ago. Since he already has recovered the boy (Johnny Crawford) Beecher plans to stiff Paladin of his fee (and we get an idea how much $1,000 is in those days when we hear Beecher talk about hiring Paldin as a hand for $25 a month!). But then Beecher needs Paladin's services after all when the Shoshoni tribe Beecher got the boy from comes to get him back on Christmas Eve.
Boone has several nice moments in this along with Shoshoni Chief Cah-la-te (Abraham Sofarr) and the ranch foreman Tater (Don Beddoe in the first of his four appearances). In general this is a anti-prejudice feel good kind of an episode without a lot of action, but that works nicely as a Christmas story.
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